Siemens denies interest in Alstom TGV unit

24th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

FRANKFURT, May 24 (AFP) - German engineering giant Siemens has no intention of making a bid for the transport division of ailing French rival, Alstom, informed sources said on Monday, rejecting a corresponding newspaper report at the weekend.

FRANKFURT, May 24 (AFP) - German engineering giant Siemens has no intention of making a bid for the transport division of ailing French rival, Alstom, informed sources said on Monday, rejecting a corresponding newspaper report at the weekend.

Siemens makes the German high-speed train ICE, while Alstom produces the French equivalent, the TGV.

But the sources said that a merger of the two would not make sense for competition reasons.

Siemens chairman Heinrich von Pierer had already said last month that a tie-up between the ICE and TGV would prove very complicated for reasons of competition.

A report in the Saturday edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted sources close to the German government as saying that Siemens had prepared a bid to purchase Alstom's entire technical rail transport division, which includes the makers of the high-speed TGV trains - one of the prides of French civil engineering.

A spokesman for Siemens refused to comment.

The newspaper said a bid by Siemens for Alstom's transport division could be a tactical ploy to force France into a compromise in the planned rescue of Alstom.

Siemens has already let it be known that it was interested in parts of the French group, notably its turbines business.

And the German government is believed to favour its national industrial giant getting hold of key Alstom activities under a rescue package for the French company being hammered out with the European Commission.

But Paris appears to have snubbed Berlin by securing a deal with Brussels whereby Alstom would not be broken up and only targeted assets would be sold off - leaving Siemens with nothing.

Siemens was reported last week to be considering an appeal to the European Court of Justice to block the French government's planned rescue of Alstom.The affair has strained relations between France and Germany.


© AFP

Subject: French news

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